Last updated: August 9, 2021

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Welcome to our big garden claw test 2021. Here we present all the garden claws that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best garden claws for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a garden claw.




Summary

  • Garden claws are used to loosen the soil and improve soil quality by mixing in fertiliser and compost.
  • Garden claws are also referred to as soil claws or cultivators, and their size and composition allow you to work accurately and precisely.
  • By loosening the soil, your plants get enough water and are supplied with good nutrients.

The Best Garden Claw: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a garden claw

What is a garden claw?

The garden claw is one of the typical gardening tools, because it makes gardening easy. A garden claw, also called a cultivator or soil claw, has a long handle with a grip, at the end of which is a fork with 5 tines.

The tines can be of different lengths and are usually turned in different directions. Garden claws are used to loosen the soil without digging it up completely. This is especially important for the plants, as it provides them with sufficient water and nutrients.

But a garden claw can do even more. It can easily be used to mix in fertiliser and compost, resulting in much better soil quality.

Where is a garden claw applied and how is it used?

Garden claws are mainly used in flower or vegetable beds, as the soil there needs special care to maintain a beautiful flower bed or a good harvest. The garden claw is first placed on the soil to be worked.

Then the claw is inserted into the soil with a twisting motion. Here it is then continuously turned further and further and then finally pulled out of the soil again. This breaks up the soil and aerates it well with comparatively little effort.

You can make the work much easier by moistening the soil beforehand.

Are there alternative uses for a garden claw?

The corkscrew principle allows you to reliably weed even stubborn weeds, cultivate the soil and, as already mentioned, aerate it well. However, you should only use your garden claw in beds and loose soil and not on lawns.

There, the lawn layer is too thick and you cannot work ergonomically and efficiently. You can also use it to mix fertiliser and compost into the soil.

When (at what time of year) do you use a garden claw?

The soil claw is mainly used in the spring, as this is the time of year when most beds are newly planted or to provide already planted beds with enough new nutrients so that the plants can germinate and sprout well.

With the exception of the winter months when the ground is frozen, you can also use the garden claw all year round to aerate your compost or cultivate the soil.

What are the advantages of a garden claw over a spade?

A spade is a garden tool that has a smooth surface to pierce, which is slightly sharper at the edge. This is why they can be used to cultivate very firm soil or lawns.
  • Because of its tines, it can aerate the soil better
  • The fork with the tines is a good size for working in small and narrow places
  • Gardening with it is more precise and accurate than with a spade
  • The corkscrew principle means that it can also be used to weed or turn the compost

Spades are therefore not suitable for loosening soil, as their size and nature would cause them to dig all over the soil. Digging around has the disadvantage that many organisms from deeper layers of soil that are good for your soil cannot survive in upper layers or even completely on the surface.

A spade is perfect for digging around in beds, but not for loosening the soil for aeration. (Photo: pexels.com / goumbik)

What is the difference between a garden claw and a digging fork?

A digging fork, unlike a garden claw, usually only has 3-4 tines, all of which run vertically downwards and are not curved. You can think of it as a big fork for the garden. It is also good for compost maintenance, but also for working with hay or dry grass in a barn, for example.

With a digging fork you can also aerate the soil, but it is much more time-consuming and you do not get the same result as with a garden claw, which moves and aerates much more soil through the corkscrew principle.

What is the difference between a garden claw and a weeder?

Although you can easily weed with a garden claw, this is not its real purpose. It pierces deeply to cut through the root system and allows for easy removal of the weeds, but there are garden tools specifically for weed removal that make this type of garden maintenance much easier.

The difference between a garden claw and a weeding trowel is that the diameter of the fork on a weeding trowel is much smaller than on a claw. This allows the weeds to be pricked more precisely and thus also removed more easily.

Image source: (unsplash.com / Ariana Prestes)

There are also models that already have integrated tongs at the end of the fork, so you don't have to bend down to get the weeds out of the ground yourself. The differences between a garden claw, a digging fork and a weeder are summarised in the following table.

Type features
Garden claw 5 tines, intended use: loosening soil, compost care
Digging fork 3-4 tines, intended use: working with hay, working with dry grass, compost care
Weeding trowel 2-3 tines, intended use: removing weeds

What alternatives are there to the garden claw?

A garden claw is specifically designed for soil maintenance in beds. However, there are two other garden tools that you can use to care for your garden soil.

Sow tooth

The sow tooth is a single-pronged cultivator that is curved like a sickle. It usually has a flat metal piece at the tip that lifts the soil slightly. A sow's tooth is particularly suitable for preparing beds. With it you can quickly and easily draw parallel lines in the soil and thus loosen it up well.

Before working on an empty bed with the sow tooth, you should first remove the weeds, as the sow tooth is unfortunately not suitable for this and would only mix the weeds into the soil.

Electric scarifier

As the garden claw is suitable for use in beds and not for the lawn, there is also a garden tool especially for lawn care that can aerate the thick and hard soil without any problems. Electric scarifiers look like lawn mowers at first glance.

However, they have a blade roller and an aerator roller with spring claws. These two rollers are specially designed for lawns, as they have long sharp blades that reach through the thick soil.

The spring claws are mainly used to quickly remove moss, mulch and weeds. Here again are the features of these two garden tools at a glance.

Sauzahn Electric scarifier
Single prong cultivator Looks like a lawn mower
It has a flat metal piece that lifts the soil It has a blade and aerator roller
Bed preparation Soil care of the lawn

What does a garden claw cost?

Depending on the manufacturer and model, garden claws cost between €20 and €40. Of course, there are also inexpensive models starting at 15€. The price depends on the material used for the handle and fork, but also on the quality of the handle, whether it is curved or straight, with or without rubber grips.

Decision: What types of garden claws are there and which is the best for you?

The garden claw is a garden tool that does not have many different designs and only differs in size and handling. Basically, there are two types of claws:

  • Garden claw
  • Hand garden claw

In the following, we would like to help you find out which type of garden claw suits you best. For this purpose, we will introduce you to the two types of garden claws mentioned above and show you clearly what their advantages and disadvantages are in each case.

Garden claws

The garden claw is the most common type of claw. It is a garden tool, as described above, that is used to loosen the soil and to remove weeds, as well as to mix in fertiliser and compost. Garden claws are available with

  • fixed handle,
  • with interchangeable handle system to which other attachments for gardening tools can be attached
  • with telescopic handle that allows you to adjust to the desired length.
Advantages
  • With this you work standing up, which is easier on your back
  • accurate and precise work possible
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for lawns

Hand garden claw

The hand garden claw, often called a mini claw, is a scaled-down form of a normal garden claw. Like the garden claw, it has a fork with 3-4 tines and a small handle. The mini claw is intended for working on very small areas, such as plant pots, raised beds and flower boxes.

Advantages
  • small and handy
  • suitable for very small areas, such as planters and flower boxes
Disadvantages
  • No back-friendly work possible
  • unsuitable for large areas, as very time-consuming

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate garden claws

In the following we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate garden claws. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective tool. In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Size/height adjustability
  • Weight
  • Ergonomics (handle)
  • Warranty

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a machine based on the criteria or not.

Size/ Height adjustability

There are various models available in the market, some of which are interchangeable handle systems. However, we recommend tools that are firmly connected to the handle, as high tensile forces can occur at the connection point, especially on hard soils.

The size of the handle is usually chosen so that even tall people can work with the tools without any problems and without needing an additional telescopic handle.

Weight

Since cultivators are made for gardening, they should not be too heavy in their own weight, so that the work can be done effortlessly and there is no additional load. The weight depends mainly on the material used. Therefore, when buying, make sure that your garden claw does not weigh more than approx. 2 kg.

Ergonomics (handle)

Ergonomics is one of the most important purchase criteria. Only if the garden tool is ergonomic can you work easily and effortlessly without wasting energy. This keeps the gardening fun factor intact.

When buying a gardening tool, make sure that the handle is slightly curved, as this will make it easier for you to turn the tool while tilling the soil. If you buy a garden claw with a straight handle, it should have a rubber grip to prevent your hands from slipping during use.

Warranty

Some manufacturers give a 2-year warranty on their garden tools from the date of purchase from your dealer if the tools have been used exclusively for private purposes. Some products come with an extended warranty.

However, if you buy the claw on a secondary market, the manufacturer's warranty becomes invalid. Therefore, we recommend that you always buy directly from a verified dealer (including DIY stores).

Facts worth knowing about garden claws

Can you repair a garden claw yourself?

Most garden claws are durable models. However, if the fork of your garden claw breaks, it depends on the workmanship whether you can repair it yourself. If you have an interchangeable handle model, you can easily buy a new fork to match your model.

However, if you have a model where the fork is welded to the handle, we recommend that you buy a new one, as the time and cost of repair would not be worth it.

Do you have to clean a garden claw?

Cultivators do not require any special care. However, you should clean your garden claw from time to time so that no deposits or rust can develop. Cleaning with a little water is sufficient. Afterwards you should let it dry.

How can I build a garden claw myself?

If you want to make your own garden claw, all you need is a handle and a fork. Both are available separately in DIY shops and online shops. For the handle of your self-made garden claw, we recommend a wooden handle, as this is cheaper and available in every DIY store.

You can simply attach the fork to the bottom of the wooden handle. Some forks also have pre-drilled holes so that you can screw the fork onto the wooden handle.

When building your own fork, make sure that you wrap the tines of the fork so that you cannot injure yourself.

Image source: unsplash.com / Annie Spratt

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